Tag Archives: Macintosh

Goodbye Outlook, Hello Apple’s i* PIM Suite

As I noted earlier, I have added a PowerBook to my computer lineup. I enjoy using Mac OS X (10.4), and find it to rarely be frustrating, unless we’re talking about keyboard shortcuts, and usually pleasant. In fact, pleasant is an excellent word to describe the experience; it’s neither thrilling nor bad.

But this post is about my decision to leave Microsoft Outlook and turn to Apple’s PIM suite, which includes iCal, Address Book, and Mail. Reasons for this switch include:

  • Increased use of my laptop and decreased use of my desktop, which makes having PIM data on laptop desireable
  • (Alleged) Ease of synchronizing my Motorola RAZR v3 with Mac OS X, iCal, and AddressBook
  • The use of open standards by the Apple PIM suite versus proprietary formats of Microsoft Outlook.

The Plan
Because I had heard switching out of Outlook could be difficult and because I did not know well Apple’s software worked, I decided a good plan was to do a series of test switches. I would move small amounts of information from Outlook’s Mail, Calendar, and Contacts sections to Apple’s Mail, iCal, and Address Book. I would also test syncing with my phone and PDA, a Handspring Visor Deluxe. If the transfers worked smoothly and if I liked the software, then I would make the switch. Otherwise, I would continue using Outlook and/or look for alternative solutions, including Microsoft’s Entourage.

In thinking, talking, and doing research about this process, I realized that the resources for such a switch are inadequate. Although I did not do an enormous amount of research, only enough to pull off the switch, I found that there was no central resource to guide a user through the process and the resources that were geared for each specific part of Outlook were poorly written, usually providing little background or explanation. I decided, therefore, that outlining my experience might be helpful to others, as well as demonstrate the difficulty of leaving Outlook.
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Making The Switch, Kinda: The Story And Useful Software

In early November I bought my first Apple, a 12 inch PowerBook. The inclusion of a Mac into my computing family is less of a switch and more of a diversity situation, as I am still running machines with Microsoft Windows XP (Pro and Home) and Red Hat Fedora Core 4.

I wanted a laptop so I could work while on the road (a frequent but not usual occurrence), at a coffeeshop, or my backyard. I’m glad I did, but I’m also glad that I have a desktop to compliment the laptop lifestyle.

There are a couple of reasons why I went Apple. One is that I was growing tired of Windows. The desire to spice up my OS life may be a result of the fact that I have primarily used DOS/Windows machines my entire computing life (since mid-1990s), but it was also because I was becoming frustrated with Windows Updates and virus issues. I gave Linux in the forms FC3, FC4, and Ubuntu (The Breezy Badger) a go, but found the hardware problems and update utilities to be both problematic and a hassle.

A second reason why I made the switch was because I wanted to become familiar with OS X. I was promised by several people that interoperability issues were largely solved, although I experienced some basic problems within the last couple of years (on OS 9 machines, however). In particular, ZS’ success and happiness with his switch gave me the extra push to take the plunge (Note: He e-mailed 20051128 to say that he’s having some odd problems).

So far, I am happy. I have had no problems integrating it into my networks (home and work, both of which are Windows dominated) and interoperability issues have been zero, although I have mainly used it for only Web and word processing tasks.
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